Synth Site: Yamaha: CS-80: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.8 out of 5
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Al a part-time user from UK writes:
I saw this CS80 on the American ebay site in July of this year. I have always loved the sound of the CS80 since listening to Vangelis (esp. Spiral and Blade Runner) as a young boy and have always sought out records (Peter Gabriel, Toto) on which I knew it featured. The CS80 was in the 'dream' section of my stuff to buy list and I thought there was little chance of me ever owning one. However just the sight of one up for offer made me throw all caution to the wind and I decided on the maximum amount I could afford (overdrafts and credit cards!) for the cost of the CS80 taking into consideration shipping and taxes well before the auction ended. This is the amount I put down shortly before the auction ended and to my surprise I won it. This particular CS80 had quite a history as well but that was not important to me as it was more the synth than the 'this was owned by..' that mattered to me. As you can imagine flying a 110+kg synth in a 30kg flightcase from the US to UK was quite expensive, and stressful but the dealer who I bought it off got a good discount rate and helped me avoid big taxes with customs (UK - US exchange rate is also quite favourable!). When it arrived I didn't have any help to lug up the two flights of stairs it had to go up so I set it up outside with an extension cable and headphones! It was quite a relief to find everything was working perfectly and was in excellent condition (always put the lid down after use;-). The band who I bought it off could obviously afford a technician to keep it regularly serviced.

I have had my CS80 for 6 months now and am beginning to understand it fully. It is now permanently situated in one place which unless you have an entourage of strong men is how CS80s should be. I don't look forward to the day it needs to be moved. I remember reading on a Yamaha service update that all CS80s past S/N 1150 (thereabouts) have the updated heat compensating oscillator design, my CS80 is above the stated figure by about 20 units but my tech tells me it does not have the mod fitted. It has been tuned once shortly after it arrived and has remained stable since so I am not too bothered about not having the mod.

I saw someone else on the reviews saying it has much in the way of harmonics (depends on how you program it obviously) - I mix with a frequency spectrum and I agree. The CS80 has a huge sound across the whole spectrum compared with others when you have a lot of notes down. I don't know of any other synths that sound this big although I'd like to give the Oberheim Matrix 12 and Elka Synthex a go as I've heard great things about them. I also read on this board someone critisising the 'weak' guitar preset - listen to 'To the Unknown Man' by Vangelis - it's probably the most characteristic preset sound on the CS80 along with the brass. However, there is much more to this than the presets and the best sounds can be made from the panel particularly as none of the presets seem to have much sine wave let through - another useful feature of the CS80. The chorus and tremelo are really nice as well, especially on long pad sounds. Glissando is cool too but nothing special. The ribbon is special, I try only to use it on special occasions cos I don't want to wear it out!! On the down side it's massive, and you are faced with a problem if things start to go wrong with it (unless you have a spare), I kind of wish it had a basic arpeggiator on it too. Apart from that it's been really well thought out as a musical instrument.

I managed to get hold of some of the original pedals not long ago but the expression pedal doesn't seem to do alot - does anyone else have this problem?

I've probably written far too much here but people who have CS80s tend to be passionate about them. They don't come up for sale very often, I consider myself quite lucky. If you have loads of money you might want to check out the fully restored one at www.rlmusic.co.uk. If not then expect to pay around £3000 for a decent one elsewhere.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Dec-15-2004 at 07:29
synthuz a professional user from us writes:
Yamaha released a VCO modification in 1978 that greatly improved tuning stability. My CS80 has it, I can tell you that in its 23 year life (manufactured Spring of 1980), it's been tuned twice. TWICE!! Once here in Denver just after I got it, and another time by CS80 expert "Old Crow." Read it and accept it.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Saturday-May-22-2004 at 04:05
writes:
You're having a laugh. Move it 6 inches and switch it on and off and see what you've got. The worst synths.

Rating: 0 out of 5 posted Friday-May-21-2004 at 14:08
synthuz a professional user writes:
To give a better picture of what this beast is, its simpley the best synth ever made, its so alive, and tuning is no big problem if you dont gig with it, i never said i havnt tuned it, but once you tune it is as stable as a analog synth should be, its not a digital synth, and yes i have moved it 6 inches and switch it on, and its fine, maby you could learn how to adjust it yourself,or maby you would be better off without one, but you must realize this is a analoge synth and thats the way they are.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-May-21-2004 at 11:29
spodnick a professional user from uk writes:
This Synth is possibly the greatest Musical instrument ever made I consider mine as almost an acoustic instrument its so playable and interactive,as for reliability,I didnt tour with it although I did use it live a couple of times and have had no problems other than an ocassional left output crackle which I cure with a sharp tap on the side ,the tunning is always fine even if left on for hours,and since I've had this since 1982 thats pretty dam good in any language.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Apr-21-2004 at 13:54
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